NIH Awards Subtle Medical, Inc. $1.6 Million Grant to Improve Safety of MRI Exams By Reducing Gadolinium Dose Using AI

MENLO PARK, Calif.Sept. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Subtle Medical, a privately-held healthcare technology company focused on improving the quality, efficiency, and safety of medical imaging, announced that it received a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant valued up to $1.6 million, contingent on deliverables, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This 2.5-year fast track to Phase 2 award will fund an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) product, SubtleGAD™, in development by Subtle Medical with the goal of reducing gadolinium dosage needed during MRI exams using deep learning (DL). The work will lead to safer contrast-enhanced MRI.

The low-dose contrast-enhanced MRI method will benefit not only millions of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) who cannot currently undergo contrast-enhanced MRI, but many more patients with normal kidney function, who are at the risk of gadolinium retention after a contrast-enhanced MRI. “With SubtleGAD™ technology, hospitals and imaging centers will be able to deliver safer MRI exams without sacrificing the clinical quality of the images,” says Enhao Gong, PhD, Co-founder & CEO of Subtle Medical. “We are grateful to receive NIH’s support to further the development of our AI product and bring it into clinical use.”

Over 40 million MRI scans are performed annually.  Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are used in approximately one-third of all MRI scans. The usage of GBCAs has been linked to the development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).  NSF can be painful, cause severe disability, and even death. The recent identification of gadolinium deposition within the brain and body has raised additional safety concerns about the usage of GBCAs. The FDA recently issued warnings about gadolinium retention following contrast-enhanced MRI and required GBCA manufacturers to conduct human and animal studies to further assess the safety of these contrast agents.

At RSNA 2018, research for SubtleGAD™ technology by Subtle and Stanford University was one of the few featured RSNA research awards, attracting a significant amount of interest from Industry.

SubtleGAD™ is the third product under development in Subtle Medical’s growing portfolio of new AI technologies.  Subtle’s first product, SubtlePET™, is the first FDA-cleared and CE-marked AI solution for medical imaging enhancement, enabling centers to enhance images from up to 4x faster PET scans. Subtle’s second product, SubtleMR™, currently under FDA review, was developed with the aim of faster MRI exams.

About Subtle Medical, Inc.

Subtle Medical, Inc. is a healthcare technology company out of Stanford University founded by Enhao Gong, PhD, and Professor Greg Zaharchuk, MD, PhD.  Subtle has developed a suite of deep learning solutions that enable centers to increase medical imaging speed, improve patient experience and reduce cost.  Current clinical partners include UCSF, Hoag Hospital, UCSD, UPMC, MD Anderson, Toronto Sickkids, DASA, Tiantan Hospital, and Middlesex Hospital. For more information, visit

Contact:  Anna Menyhart

SOURCE Subtle Medical, Inc.